LEWISBURG, Pa. – A young Bucknell volleyball team nearly pulled off an incredible comeback in a 3-2 loss to Canisius on the second day of the Bucknell Tournament, and then took the first set against a tough East Carolina team before falling 3-1 in the final match of the day.
The Bison finished the season-opening event with a 1-2 record thanks to a 3-0 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday night. Freshman Mimi Richards was named to the All-Tournament Team after finishing the three matches with 12 kills, a .361 hitting percentage, and 16 total blocks, including four solo.
“Overall it was a very good first tournament,” said Bucknell head coach Anna Allison. “Our players toughed it out in a very hot gym and we saw contributions from several players. We will continue to work on fine tuning our game. I am excited for our future as a team.”
East Carolina went 3-0 at the event, recording three-set wins over both Fairleigh Dickinson and Canisius. The Pirates were led by Tournament MVP Sydney Darden. Richards and Darden were joined on the All-Tournament Team by Sabrina Gonzalez and Ashley McCrae, Canisius’s Katlyn Tyler and Cassidy Ceriani, and Fairleigh Dickinson’s Annabel Reyes.
Bucknell returns to action when it travels to the Duquesne/Robert Morris Invitational on Sept. 2-3. In addition to the two host teams, the Bison will play Coppin State.
Canisius 3, Bucknell 2 (29-27, 25-21, 22-25, 21-25, 15-13)
Bucknell had two incredible comeback attempts fall short in a close loss to Canisius in the first match of the day for both teams. First, the Bison erased an eight-point lead before falling 29-27 in the first set, Then, down 2-0 overall, they battled back to tie the match before dropping a 15-13 decision in the final set.
The Bison trailed 24-16 in the first set before scoring eight straight points to tie the score at 24-24. Senior Erika Eastley and junior Hailey Stout teamed up for two huge blocks during the rally, while senior Jordan Walker and sophomore Blake Buchholz contributed one kill apiece.
Bucknell actually took a 26-25 lead on a combined block by Eastley and Buchholz, but Canisius tied it up on a kill by Tyler. The teams traded points again before the Golden Griffins scored two straight to clinch the set.
Canisius looked to be on its way to an easy win after a 25-21 win in the second set, but the Bucknell squad wasn’t done. The Bison secured a third-set win with a kill by freshman Selby Schnobrich, and then followed that with a win in the fourth set that was clinched by a Buchholz kill.
The fifth and deciding set proved to be just as even as the rest of the match. Canisius went up 14-11, but Bucknell pulled within one, 14-13, on a kill by freshman Bridgette Holland and a combined block by Richards Schnobrich. The Golden Griffins secured the victory with a kill by Jacklyn Malusa.
Buchholz, Stout and Holland finished with 13 kills apiece, while Schnobrich was impressive with 50 assists in her first career start. Eastley contributed five total blocks. Four players finished with double-digit digs, led by senior Kristen Parks with 26. Buchholz completed a double-double with 15 digs.
East Carolina 3, Bucknell 1 (25-27, 25-20, 25-9, 25-21)
After having five freshmen announced in its starting lineup, Bucknell showed little signs of a youthful team in the first set. The Bison came out firing on all cylinders and outlasted the Pirates for a 27-25 victory.
The Pirates bounced back to win the next three sets and go a perfect 3-0 in the tournament. It was the first ever meeting between the two teams.
Richards had five block assists and one solo block for the Bison. Stout tallied eight kills, 11 digs and four block assists, while Holland finished with 13 kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Buchholz and freshman Sophie Bullard came through with eight kills apiece.
Darden paced the Pirates with 17 kills and 14 digs. Gonzalez had 20 digs and five kills.